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Microsoft Cloud Piracy Windows Your Rights Online

Windows 8 To Fight Piracy With the Cloud 404

Posted by Soulskill
from the arrr-me-hearties dept.
MrSeb writes "With the latest Windows 8 build (8064) that has been delivered to Intel, it's clear that the company is taking strides to make sure that its upcoming OS isn't quite so easy to pirate. For starters, the generic volume license keys that were so easily exploited during the early days of Windows 7 leaks will no longer be an option for pirates. Product keys also won't be shipped in the prodkey.txt file included in the build packages. Instead, installers will need to retrieve a unique key from a Microsoft web page. There's also a good possibility that the recently-surfaced fast booting patent could come into play as well. If Microsoft does indeed have designs on using a remote server to push OS code to systems at boot time, that code would be a very clever place to embed activation-related programming. Even if a crack was discovered, it would be neatly undone during a subsequent start-up sequence — similar to the way Microsoft's now-idle Windows Steady State could turn back the clock on an entire Windows installation after rebooting." Microsoft has also indirectly confirmed in a recent blog post that Windows 8 will make use of an app store.
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Windows 8 To Fight Piracy With the Cloud

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  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:35PM (#37145040) Journal

    Found it!

    If you no longer even own your full OS and require "pushed OS code at boot time" the Cloud Scam will be complete!

    • Tethering the OS to external dependencies like this, make it worth less (or maybe even worthless) as an OS to me, regardless of the reason for doing it.
      And yes, linux distros are generally dependent on repositories, but you get to pick which mirror, including your own internal one.

      The cloud and app store marking is hilarious. Inherently inferior mobile/touch inspired interfaces are not going to topple the desktop, because many people have real work to do.

      • by oakgrove (845019)

        And yes, linux distros are generally dependent on repositories, but you get to pick which mirror, including your own internal one.

        You can always just download the entire repos in one shot and have them at the ready whenever you want. All of Debian, for example, can be downloaded to something like 8 DVD's. [debian.org]

        • If memory serves, Debian will still still treat optical media as "repositories", so that automatic dependency handling and installation still work normally(except for the being prompted for the CD bit); but there is, indeed, no requirement that a repository be external to a machine(you can use optical media for offline machines, and there isn't anything stopping a repository mirror server from acting is its own repository); but ripping the notion of repositories out entirely puts you pretty far from most co
      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:48PM (#37145286) Journal

        I'm fairly certain this will apply mainly to consumer versions. The corporate world won't put up with external dependencies like this for any number reasons, so I'm sure copies bought via corporate channels like volume licensing won't be crippled in this way.

        Or maybe I'm wrong, in which case when our next set of upgrades happen in about two or three years, I may in fact be making a strong case for moving from Windows entirely.

        • With 7 and 2008 they are pushing about about as hard in that direction [microsoft.com] as volume customers will put up with. You either do a one-time activation with microsoft, per computer(don't worry, if you have a high-security or airgapped network you can activate by phone!) or you set up a KMS host(modify our DNS server configuration to support your DRM? Sounds reasonable to me!) which activates with Microsoft, and then serves as a sort of activation proxy for KMS clients who phone home not less than every 180 days.
        • This would be a major issue for the medical field where it is often IT policy is to block external communication. There's also another major problem that I am truly dumbfounded why no one is really seeing (or at least caring about) and that is the notion of resilient capability. Dependency on the "cloud" for compute resources be they general applications, or now perhaps even the OS itself creates a beautifully vulnerable target for deliberate attack or natural disaster. Just as was evidenced with the 196 [wikipedia.org]

        • by EdIII (1114411)

          My thoughts exactly.

          I am not worried personally because I am transitioning away to Linux completely on my desktop/laptop, and when required, I access a Windows Server 2008 server across a VPN connection if I need that platform to develop or test something. Most of the stuff I am developing with now even has a Linux version.

          If they think for one second that I am going to make an entire company dependent on the Internet connection, they are smoking some real good shit.

          No way that corporate will allow this, a

        • Yeah... They'd have to remove that feature, or allow some kind of internal licensing server... Because there's no way in hell I'm going to roll out an OS that bricks my workstations when the Internet goes down.

        • by guruevi (827432) <eviNO@SPAMsmokingcube.be> on Friday August 19, 2011 @04:33PM (#37147744) Homepage

          The VLK license codes are usually the ones used in pirated Windows. The VLK codes are easy to mask when the system dials in (it's not unusual that multiple machines have the same code), they usually unlock all the different flavors Windows comes in and not easy for Microsoft to de-active (unless they want to piss off a major client).

          It doesn't prevent them from doing so, the institution I work at is at it's 3rd or 4th VLK for WinXP and at least one of them is easily found in Google and will fail the 'Genuine' test.

          The problem I find with pushing OS code is that when (not if) a flaw is found in the system or a private key gets found it opens the way for malware to enter into the system and masking as OS boot code it won't be easy to find or remove until it's too late. It's a security incident waiting to happen. The other obvious problems are when the system is not on a network or their systems are not available besides bandwidth. If they allow for systems to run without 'checking in' a crack for the system will easily be built.

          If you haven't already migrated away from Windows, I would recommend doing it soon. There is no reason anymore to stay with it. I have successfully phased it out at my place of employment for both Mac and Linux. Sadly people still depend on MS Office so I still have to donate to Bill Gates' trust fund but it's a bunch cheaper than having to buy Windows, Windows Server, CAL's for every single piece of server software they sell etc.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        I thought quick booting was the whole point of hybrid hard drives
        128/256/512 MB of flash memory is more than enough to hold whatever code MS wants to push over the internet.

      • by bhcompy (1877290)
        Oh, it will be worth less... to start. It's going to have a monthly subscription fee.
    • by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday August 19, 2011 @02:04PM (#37145602)
      Don't worry. ~80% of Windows 8 users (the other 19.9% are business users) won't be using this "feature", as TPB edition won't have it...
  • In Soviet Russia, cloud does not destroy piracy, but instead destroys YOU (the desktop OS).

    If we have cloud, tablets, and HTML 5 life is good :)
  • Gawd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:37PM (#37145084)

    I really hate the direction software and computers are heading.

    I'm not that old.. but it just seems like every new thing makes me cringe. Maybe it's for the best and this is the way people want it, and maybe I'm just too attached to the way things are now (or I guess the way things were) to adapt to all this new thinking, but dammit if I don't feel something I'm passionate about is slipping away.

    Maybe I should just go plant trees for a living or something :(

    • by oakgrove (845019)
      Have you considered this [ubuntu.com]?
    • I feel the same way as you. I personally took up jogging to get away from all the retarded shit going on in the IT world, and although footwear manufacturers over the world are hellbent on selling me THEIR perfect running product, at least with Americans being by and large as lazy as they are, the ads aren't continuously shoved in my face. I can't even get away from reality with gaming anymore, because people's strange ideas of progress and innovation (social this, social that, always online) have crippled
    • I'm a Gen-Y'er and I feel the same way. Seems like everything's been going backwards since the mid/late 2000s. Computers are turning into toys for passive media consumption.

    • This will enable Microsoft's dream of rented software. You pay every time you use their software. Since Android is free, this is going to flop in the market. No one will want to pay Microsoft when they can use open source for free.
  • by wsxyz (543068)
    Insider sources are also claiming that PCs booting Windows 8 will snap a picture with the webcam and send it to Microsoft as part of the boot sequence.
    • Windows 8 will snap a picture with the webcam and send it to Microsoft as part of the boot sequence.

      So now if you are not sitting in front of your computer it will put up a message saying something like:
      No face defected. Smile for the camera to continue.

      Just to add to the trauma of a horrible disfiguring injury now you will have to buy a new windows license if your face is disfigured.

      For the sense of humour impaired: I am just having fun with paranoia.

    • I knew that Barney Dinosaur costume was going to come in handy one day.
  • How is that going to work with systems that are not connected to the Internet? Like almost all of the systems I use at work and any secure system.

  • To the roots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iONiUM (530420) * on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:39PM (#37145128) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft needs to go back to their roots and remember that their success in the PC market these days can largely (but of course, not entirely) be attributed to the fact that many younger people pirated their OS and used it a lot.

    This is why they should just let piracy go, especially for the OS and Visual Studio, that way when people enter the workforce, they already are accustomed to these things. This is why RIM should be so disturbed that many younger people don't use BlackBerry's anymore; when those younger people enter the workforce, they're going to scream and yell to get their iPhone's and Android's connected to the exchange server.

    It has always been this way, and Microsoft would be stupid to forget it.

    That said, there's the China piracy problem, which is outside of above.. maybe this is targeting that..

    • Even if I were totally ambivalent about running OS X vs. Windows, I'd still prefer OS X simply because I don't have any activation nightmares.

      It has led to me to use Crossover on the Mac (WINE variant) over running Windows in a VM for any Windows app I need to tun as well... basically I've had enough pain in my life from activation and want no more of it.

    • by adisakp (705706)

      This is why they should just let piracy go, especially for the OS and Visual Studio, that way when people enter the workforce, they already are accustomed to these things..

      The OS should be cheaper... no way should the basic crippled version of the OS cost $100 for an upgrade and $200 for the full version. Mac OS X is $29.99 and has almost no OS Piracy.

      Also, just FWIW, MS does have a free version of Visual Studio called Visual Studio Express [microsoft.com] that works quite well for students.

  • "on using a remote server to push OS code to systems at boot time," 1) Not everyone is always connected to the internet. A good number of machines are not. 2) While it may be used to assist in piracy prevention, how long until someone figures out how to spoof that server and serve malicious code to the OS at boot time. Because ya know, that's better than having some pirated software out there. 3) It will be cracked sooner or later. They've tried this with Office 2010 to an extent and Adobe with CS 5.
    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      A momentary irritation to a pirate and a massive headache for non-pirates. It's how software business is run nowadays: make your product less usable than the pirated version in order to stop piracy. Only a CEO could think of something that brilliant! Looks like someone will be getting a nice end-of-year bonus for an "innovative solution."

  • Guess ill just be staying with windows 7

    • by ifrag (984323)

      Yep, hopefully 7 will be the new XP, and get around a decade of use with an extended update cycle.

      As long as there isn't some stupid thing like DirectX 12 as Windows 8 exclusive. Then again, most developers are still shipping DX9 engines with the extra features as options that don't really add much.

      • As long as there isn't some stupid thing like DirectX 12 as Windows 8 exclusive.

        You bet your ass there will be, this is exactly what they did with Halo 3 for the PC.

        But hopefully someone will come out with a crack to install DX12 on 7, just like last time.

  • i mean most computers are bought at retail with real licenses. how many people really pirate windows compared to microsoft's cost to implement this?

    or did the ipad and just cheap fast hardware really stretch the upgrade cycle so MS is hoping to cash in on an OS upgrade and needs to a way to protect themselves?

    • I can only assume that they are either going to be turning the screws a bit harder with their "anytime upgrade" pitch, which will require keeping the developed world from just having that kid who knows computers install Ultimate, or they are trying to ensure that developing market pirate system-builders find it much harder to pay nothing(it will, of course, still be in their interest to price-discriminate; but there is a big difference between somebody who pays nothing because you can't stop him, and somebo
  • Does this mean we'll need to be constantly connected to the internet to keep using Windows?
    Yuck? Haiku OS seems more and more tempting each day...

  • Didn't Microsoft once say something along the lines of, it is better to have someone pirate the OS, then to lose them to linux or other competitors?, Stacked with the rapid growth of cloud applications and the age of everything being done in the browser. I am seeing less and less reason to care what OS your system is running. For anything other then some PC games, is there really any motivation to fork over $200 for a windows license?
    • I don't think Microsoft is losing many people to Linux. Their biggest competitors are first themselves, and second Apple.
    • Bill Gates said that back in the early/mid '90s IIRC. Back then Windows copy protection consisted of "Enter the key printed on the box to install. Right key? Thanks, that's all, you'll never deal with the copy protection again!"

      Nowadays it's "Well this computer's starting up. Same hardware as last time? Lemme check the serials on each component and the amount of RAM...looks good. No funny business with the system clock? Okay...alright everything's in order, I'll let Microsoft know. See ya next boot, I'll be

  • Does anyone even care about Windows 8?

    Windows 7 seems like a very solid OS. While I understand the reasons to upgrade from XP (DX11, old security) and from Vista (vista sucked) has Microsoft shown anything at all that would make someone want to upgrade from Windows 7? Many people still haven't made the jump from XP to 7 yet.

    I will be perfectly happy with Windows 7 for at least another year or two. There's nothing that Windows 8 could give me that I need. Maybe when DX12 comes out?

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Maybe when DX12 comes out?

      Surely you mean 'when DX12 games come out'? Which will be about five years after 50% of new PCs have DX12; even today most games seem to be DX9 possibly with a DX10 renderer option, which is primarily because Microsoft refused to port DX10 to XP.

    • It's funny how you hear the same comments ever 3 years or so when MS releases a new OS.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        It's funny how you hear the same comments ever 3 years or so when MS releases a new OS.

        Yeah, I remember all those comments in 2004 when Microsoft released the replacement for XP.

        The simple fact is that no-one but Microsoft thinks that installing a new version of Windows every three years makes sense. Windows 8 is a spectacularly dumb idea that merely fractures their OS lineup even further when people have barely even moved to Windows 7 yet.

        People complain about numerous Linux distributions, but once Windows 8 comes out there'll be something like thirty different versions of Windows to deal wi

    • Microsoft will make you care, by withholding DX12 and perhaps later IE releases, the same thing they did when Vista was first released.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Microsoft will make you care, by withholding DX12 and perhaps later IE releases, the same thing they did when Vista was first released.

        And, as I pointed out above, more than four years after Vista was released the majority of games are still DX9 because that's the only way to support all significant versions of Windows; DX11 has been out for some time but only a few games even seem to have optional DX10 renderers. On that basis, by the time we start to see many DX12 games, Windows 9 will be out with DX13.

        BTW, whatever happened to that AGW thing? It was all big in the news a few years ago but I never seem to hear anything about it anymore.

  • As a Linux user... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Friday August 19, 2011 @02:03PM (#37145576)

    I'm OK with this.

    The sooner the theft of Microsoft products ends the better. Turn all the knobs to 11, Mr. Ballmer. The sound of gnashing teeth will be as sweet as Beethoven's Pastoral symphony.

    --
    BMO

  • Apple dropped the price of OS updates from $129.99 to $29.99. Piracy for OS updates dropped significantly and they actually make more money at the lower price point. Plus since more machines are running the latest version of the OS, they have less problems with old OS issues.
    • by adisakp (705706)
      To be honest, if Windows was $29.99 instead of closer to $200, they probably wouldn't even need DRM and they'd still have very little piracy.
    • Apple dropped the price of OS updates from $129.99 to $29.99. Piracy for OS updates dropped significantly and they actually make more money at the lower price point. Plus since more machines are running the latest version of the OS, they have less problems with old OS issues.

      Apple can do this because their software is tied directly to the hardware, MS is solely a software company, realm of computers anyways. Office and Windows are currently the most profitable divisions of the company http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2011/04/microsoft-beats-estimates-but-not-apple-in-third-quarter-earnings.ars [arstechnica.com] I'm sure they would sell more upgrades at a lower price but the question to answer is: "What price point nets them the most money?"

  • The only reason I kept Windows 7 on my laptop (which came with Windows like most laptops still do) was because I need it for work (I work with dinosaurs). I dual boot to Linux, and have had the opportunity to test performance on both systems. Linux performs most Java based tasks 30 percent faster. Linux: Free, Free upgrades, large, knowledgeable community, hosts of applications. Windows; $$$, Free updates, but $$$ to upgrade; Large *user* community, but very, very few know the system; hosts of paid and
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday August 19, 2011 @03:25PM (#37146898)
    You spent how many millions on your anti-piracy tactics and we all know it'll be cracked within a month of release.

    What happens when my computer doesn't have an internet connection? Are you going to drop the ENTIRE laptop market? No... You're going to have to account for that, and that will be exploited.

    The ONLY way to fight piracy is to lower your prices. Sell windows for $30 a box (probably what you're selling it to Dell for anyway) and it wont be worth anyone's time to pirate.

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